Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The All Time Ugly EDC

The core of my EDC is a few items--a light, a knife, a pen, and a watch.  Its supplemented by the normal person's EDC--keys, a wallet, and a phone, but the light/knife/pen/watch combo is the heart of my carry.  With the discovery of the $65K Sly Stallone Montegrappa Chaos Fountain Pen, I have decided to outline the ugliest pocket dump possible. If your gear is in this dump, I am sorry.  I didn't intend to offend you, only point out the stupidity of your decisions.  With that non-caveat out of the way here we go.

Ground Rules

To reach the level of truly hideous requires more than just a few mistakes, it requires a blind devotion to tastelessness.  In that blindness, there were a few themes. 

For whatever reason the skull motif is strong in the gear community.  Perhaps it is because the cocks sketched out in Super Bad are trademarked or something, but regardless of the reason, the skull is everywhere.  Especially on the All Time Ugly list.  I guess you could have a tastefully done skull motif, but the Golden Age of tasteful skull motifs died out with Black Beard the Pirate and his favorite flag.  No, what we are treated to is the Vegasification of the skull motif--skulls smiling (without lips), skulls with knives clenched in their teeth (without muscles), and skulls laughing with baseball caps on. They carved on hideous pocket clips, and laser etched on blades, or worst of all worked into the barrel of a pen.  

But, oddly enough, there is another common theme among hideous gear and that is Sylvester Stallone. The Lyle designed Rambo knife was truly awesome, a beautiful piece.  The Hibben design was...um...less so.  But aside from those two things, anything Sly touches gearwise is pretty terrible.  If you knew nothing else about the piece of kit, not even what it was or what it looked like, but merely the fact that at some point Sly Stallone has something to do with it, you can just steer clear.  Its not just a pile of steaming cow shit, its a pile of steaming cow shit infected with Ebola, that as a severed human finger sticking out of it.  So, for the sake of simplicity here is the Gear Design Axiom:

Sly + Gear=Chunk-from-Goonies ugly.

Its like the Pythagorean Thereom of Gear.  Its a bed rock princple, an unshakable foundation of knowledge.  Now that we have first principles articulated, lets get to the gear.

The Pen

Image courtesy of Luxury Magazine

Oh my...the Montegrappa Chaos is just insane.  I am Italian, so let me do some translating for you.  Montegrappa is Italian for "mountain of crappa".  And Sly Stallone is Italian for "I saw what he made and I threw up in my mouth a little and then swallowed it and realized I had chili for dinner last night".   After digging and doing some real investigative journalism, I found this--a transcript of the design meeting between Sly and Montegrappa:

Sly: "Uh, yo, what do you think if I put a skull on dis ting? Dat'd be cool, right?"

Montegrappa: "Si.  Skulls-a are awesome-a"  

Sly: "Uh, yo, what do you think if I put a snake on dis ting? Dat'd be cool, right?"

Montegrappa: "Si.  Snakes-a are awesome-a"  

NOTE: I am Italian, so according to some unwritten cultural rule, I can make fun of Italians.  You can't because your not Italian, but I can. There has to be SOME benefit to having hair greasy enough to lube engine parts and having to shave twice before lunch.

The only piece of man iconography missing from the pen's barrel is a penis.  So Montegrappa and Sly, let's see a Gen 2 of this pen with a giant gold penis on the barrel.  That's what could take this thing to the next level.  

Montegrappa: "Si.  Penises-a are awesome-a."

The Light

Image courtesy of Monkey Edge

Starlingear.  Oh Starlingear.  What happened?  And Lens Light, you should know better.  

What we have in the light category is both ugly and stupid.  First you have the "engraved" skull bead from Ryk Maverick.  And then you have a digicam flashlight.  What?  A device to help you see in the dark and it is camouflaged?  Yep. Of all the times when you DON'T want something camouflaged, reaching for a flashlight is #1.  You are reaching for your light because YOU CAN'T SEE.  You definitely don't want a light that you CAN'T SEE, too.  This is the pocket frosting trend taking to its (il)logical and silly extreme. Skulls, camo, SKULLS AND CAMO.  AWESOME.  And ugly.

The Knife

There are quite a few contenders here.  If there is a skull on a pocket clip, especially a three dimensional one soldered in place, that knife is ugly.  If there is a giant laser etched skull on the blade, ugly.  Really ugly.  But that's not what we are talking about.  We aren't talking about run of the mill ugly, or superficial ugly.  Lots of DPx Gear has a skull here or there, but it happens to be lasered on to some pretty good looking knives.  That's like a super model with a pimple.  Not what I am talking about.

No, in the knife category, skulls get you some ugly points, but the truly hideous stuff is, unlike with pens, skull free.  There are really three contenders, a multi-horse race, like the debate between greatest pitcher in the last twenty years (Clemens, Maddux, Johnson, or Pedro).  

The first contender is from a company that knows how to make some truly gorgeous knives.  Some of William Henry's stuff is very impressive with engravings and other touches that seem impossible for a production company to pull off.  The subjects of that engraving, well, lets just say their not museum worthy.  Sure there are a lot of Merica Rocks engravings, and I am giving them a pass because, well I am kind of a silly patriot and you know what...Merica does ROCK (if you would like you can reread that sentence while listening to the Hendrix rendition of the Star Spangled Banner).  No, its the other engravings that get WH in trouble. Tigers, skulls...you know.  But the Pinnacle of Hideous (or one of the Triple Peaks of Hideous) is the infamous "Pirate" engraving, seen here:

The engraving work is fine, the image is the issue.  I am not sure why WH wanted to celebrate the long and storied history of pirates having seizures while steering a ship, but there it is. This isn't nearly as cool as the villainous pirates in Pirates of the Caribbean or from my son's Imaginext toys.  No, this is something much worse.  This is all time ugly.  

The second contender again is not just somewhat ugly.  Its not Boker Batman knife ugly.  No, it too, like the WH Pirate knife, is REALLY barf worthy.  And it is the soon to be released Mike Draper Spyderco.

Image courtesy of Knife Center
With each leak and picture that knife cements its place in the history of ugly gear.  Its not just the web mofit on the handle though.  Its the fact that the blade is awkward looking AND that the web mofit has blue sparkles on it.  If there was ever an official knife for the Championship Team of Pairs Rollerskating circa 1974 this is it.  

The third contender is not really a knife, but a theme used on knives--blood.  You have seen these knives--neon green handles, neon green blades, and blood spatter (not splatter, haven't you seen CSI?) everywhere.

Image courtesy of Knife Center

A lot of the gear on the All Time Ugly Pocket Dump comes out of that part of the brain that remains unchanged since the knife designer was 12 years old.  A la Herman's Head, that part of the brain says:

"Okay guys, ready for this: BLOOD!  Let's put BLOOD on the knife, out of the box."

The reason this idea made it through all of the sensible voices in the person's head was because inside the knife designer's head, the crazy little voice was actually a raving psychopath and MURDERED everyone else.  And so, we are treated to blood soaked knives, out of the box.  If there is one thing people can point to and say to us "you are a bunch of infantile morons with an obsession with violence and knives AREN'T tools..." this is it.  Finally odds that one of these knives shows up in a legislative hearing in the next twenty years to illustrate how violent knife owners are are better than even.  Thanks dumbass knife companies that put blood colored paint on their knives.  Ugly AND stupid.

The Watch

The watch is easy.  Its anything made by those hoaxsters from Florence, Italy (Italy is showing up a lot here...hey, we also have Michaelangelo and Da Vinci...just remember that).  The ugliest watch is any Panerai. Its not just the twee face or the obnoxious crown guard.  Its not the dinner plate size. Its not just the faux retro art deco styling.  Its not the uber pretentious look.  Its the fact that they did stuff like the Brooklyn Bridge edition.

Image courtesy of Chrono24.com

Ugly on the outside is one thing, but Panerai takes ugly to a whole new level, cramming in parts from a K-Mart watch in its hideous cases and selling it to suckers for tons of money.  That's truly and purely ugly.  That evinces not just a lack of taste, but a lack of morality.  This is a whole different level of ugly.

Oh and just so you don't think this is the only reason why it is the ugliest watch, here is the other piece. Panerai was a brand from the early part of the 20th Century and was revived when...wait for it...Sly Stallone bought a few vintage models and gave them to friends.  Remember the Gear Design Axiom?  Bam, confirmation of the hideousness of a Panerai.  

There you have it, a collection of gear that puts the "dump" in pocket dump; daily carry from Hell's sewer system.  If I offended you, your taking this exercise to seriously.  Remember the date after all.  But this isn't a "HA! I fooled you" piece.  I believe everything I wrote here.  This is more a "HA! You got fooled if you bought any of this junk" style April Fool's Joke. 


  1. Pretty ugly stuff. Not to be a jerk, but did you mean to say "motif" instead of mofit? Maybe that's an April Fools thing, I don't know.

    Thanks for the laughs.

    1. This is a Tony Sculimbrene production. The day he posts a typo-free article is the day I eat my tin foil hat.

  2. I take it you won't be buying the new Panerai Zombie edition? Bright green face with blood drop numerals and a giant 3D skull deployment clasp. :-)

  3. Tony-

    I completely agree with your comments!
    I cringe when I go to these edc forums, and see skulls, pirate motif related gear, obnoxiously expensive ugly custom knives, etc.
    The Valhalla site for all of this bad taste is 'Monkey Edge', where all the mall ninja ' s buy their weekend tacticool gear.

    Amen, Brother!

  4. Have you seen the new Schwarzenegger Watch Co. watches, announced at Baselworld '15? Would fit right in with that Sly pen.

    1. Its not just the looks that sink the Panerai, it is the criminal-level deception involved. Ugly soul beats ugly face, every time.

  5. Why don't you stop hiding behind all the innuendo and hyperbole and tell us how you really feel?

  6. Excluding your site, certain edc forums have become places of people trying to out do each other in terms of expensive, tasteless gear.

  7. I gotta agree w/ everything. And would like to add anything w/ a Spyderhole, except maybe the Ladybug hawkbill salt. That may tempt me to take a step into the ugly side.

  8. G-Shocks and all large watches could, should, be added to Panerai.

  9. Wow. That Panerai watch is just mind boggling. The comparison shots in the forum show how ugly the movement is in comparison with the "standard" edition. The real movement is really beautiful, but the one shipped is nothing like it. I do like how there are people saying "well you can't see the movement, and it keeps time so what's the fuss?". People will defend anything.

    The company did offer to replace the movements if you sent it in, but you had to pay postage and insurance both ways. A complete joke.

  10. that bloody cheesy emerson skull needs to go, too

  11. Same for ESEE imo. I got an Ontario version of a knife because of the ESEE skull and have held off buying a Candiru or Izula because of the skull.

  12. I wish somebody came out with a Where's Waldo themed premium knife, flashlight, pen, and watch. I would buy them.

  13. God damn it Tony, I've held my tongue for far too long. Why do you always misuse "you're" and "your"? I'd hate to be a grammar nazi but you seem to make the mistake damn near every time you use either of the words.

    1. I 'm sure Tony appreciates the proof-read. Please outline the errors and exactly where they are. You will be compensated the same amount that he is for his efforts. Nothing. You will however, be doing a great justice to the English language.

    2. I always appreciate the grammar and typo corrections. I write for a living, as a lawyer, and I know the difference. The problem with writing here is the deadlines I have given myself, two articles a week (note that this article was the second of three) don't give me time to proof read, like my job demands. I have tried using proofreaders before but none of them could handle the flow of articles in a timely fashion. So I have decided, for now, to just do my best and not worry about the typos too much. When you guy catch them I am grateful and I do go back and correct them when I get a chance. If the blog ever starts making a ton of money I will probably hire a proofreader/editor. I also have been contemplating a reduction in the amount of content in favor of typo-free articles. Its a balancing act. Let me know how you'd like this balancing act resolved.

  14. Use of the word "twee" trumps all your typos. Kudos to you, sir!

  15. Haven't you seen the 60mm monster worn by both Sly and Arnold?


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